Not all mindsets are equal.
Some mindsets get you stuck in life and make you miserable.
Others foster growth and happiness.
Who doesn’t want to achieve more in life and be happy?
The problem is many people don’t pay attention to their mindset. And yet, it’s the most important thing to start with.
Developing the right mindset can guide us on the road to growth and happiness.
To do that, we need to know 2 things:
- What is the right mindset to cultivate?
- How to change our mindset to grow and be happy?
Having the right mindset is like building a rock-solid foundation. It will sustain you for the rest of your life.
What the relation between mindset, growth, and happiness?
1- The happiness formula
In ‘The Happiness Hypothesis’, the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt mentioned the “happiness formula”:
This is one of the most important ideas in positive psychology.
“The level of happiness that you actually experience (H)
Your biological set point (S)
The conditions of your life (C)
The voluntary activities you do (V)”
You can’t do that much about (S), your biological set point. It’s fixed inside your genes.
The conditions of your life (C) are either unchanging or changeable. For example, you can’t change your age or race, but you change your marital status and wealth.
Also, Haidt mentions some external conditions that might get you lasting happiness. Among them, removing the source of noises and working on your most valued relationships.
Finally, the voluntary activities you do (V). They are all those things that you choose to do. Activities like praying, exercising, or learning a new skill.
As you have little control over C and none over S, you can influence your happiness by focusing on V.
This is where growth comes to play.
If we voluntarily improve ourselves, it will make us happy.
Anything that helps us grow will make us happy.
So we just need to adopt a mindset allowing us to seek continuous growth.
2- The belief system
In 1960, the psychiatrist Aaron Beck realized that the belief system of his clients was at the origin of their problems.
Just before feeling anxious or depressed, a negative thought will cross their minds. Something like ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘my future is hopeless’.
The clients weren’t conscious of their self-negative talk. Beck found that he can teach them how to break these thoughts and change their beliefs.
This is how cognitive therapy is born.
Cognitive therapy is teaching people how to be conscious of their distorted thoughts and how to find a more accurate way of thinking.
That’s what mindset is about: a way of thinking.
The mindset is a frame of mind. It’s the glasses with which you see the world.
If the glasses are clean, you experience growth and happiness.
If the opposite, you’ll feel stuck in life and unhappy.
Let’s see now how changing mindset can have a positive impact on people’s life.
What science says about mindset?
1- The placebo effect
In ‘Mind-set matters: Exercise and the placebo effect’, Alia Crum and Ellen Langer published a study testing on 84 female room attendants working in different hotels.
They informed one group that their actual work meets the recommendations of physical exercise. They didn’t say anything to the second group.
After 4 weeks, the informed group showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index.
Their perception changed. They saw themselves exercising more than before.
This is the power placebo effect: we get a beneficial result merely by changing our view.
That’s exactly what mindset is: the way we view the world.
We can have a placebo effect with a certain mindset. But there is a condition.
2- Is a positive mindset enough?
Professor Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard said:
“The placebo effect is more than positive thinking — believing a treatment or procedure will work. It’s about creating a stronger connection between the brain and body and how they work together,”
In other words, having a positive mindset alone is not enough.
We need to combine action and positive beliefs.
- Repeating every day that you are fit won’t make you lose weight.
- When a person believes stress is negative, he starts feeling the effects of it. When we prove him the opposite, he starts experiencing fewer negative symptoms.
You can find out more about the placebo effect and changing mindset in the video below.
An important concept: the two mindsets
1- Fixed mindset vs growth mindset
Dr. Carol Dweck, a leading researcher in the field of developmental psychology, makes the distinction between fixed mindset and growth mindset. Her book ‘Mindset’ is a gem.
Understanding the two mindsets can profoundly change the way you lead your life.
The fixed mindset believes the intelligence, personality, and character are given. They can’t be changed.
The growth mindset believes the intelligence, personality, and character can be changed. You can be good at anything with consistent effort.
The choice of mate
The fixed mindset believes the relationship should be naturally perfect.
The growth mindset believes that lasting relationship comes from working together.
Failure and success
The fixed mindset makes a drama from failure. He takes it personally. For example, he would label himself as ‘stupid’ if he fails an exam.
The growth mindset sees failure as an opportunity to learn and do better.
The fixed mindset believes in natural-born talent. So there’s no reason to try becoming better.
The growth mindset believes in the process. He can improve at anything step by step.
2- The child mindset
The list can go on and on. As you can see, our mindset affects all areas of our life.
The growth mindset is similar to regaining the innocence of a child.
Children are curious about everything, learn by playing, and most importantly, the concept of failure is totally absent to them.
We need to be less like an adult and more like a child.
“Those who approach life like a child playing a game, moving and pushing pieces, possess the power of kings.”
Bonus: Growth mindset in quotes
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So sail away from the safe harbor. Explore, Dream, Discover.
“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.”
Frank A. Clark
“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”
What will your life be like if you adopt a growth mindset?
Probably all areas of your life will improve: relationships, study, work…
You’ll be on this road of continuous learning.
And you’ll face obstacles along the way.
But instead of making you weak, they will teach you.
You will discover your potential.
And accessory, you’ll experience satisfaction and happiness.
From now on, become a growth seeker.
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Thank youThe Muslim Shepherd